Ladi Kwali, without much ado, is the greatest export of the Gbagyi people of Abuja. The most popular and regularly used hall in Sheraton hotels Abuja, is named after her as well as the street on which this hotel sits like Zeus temple.
Ladi Kwali is that lady on Nigeria’s N20 note with her famed pot making.
Ladi Kwali was born in 1952 and died August 12, 1984. She hailed from the village of Kwali, in present day Kwali Area Council of Abuja.
Ladi Kwali, took her time in making her designs and they stood out because of their beauty and exquisite charm. The Emir of Abuja at the time, Alhaji Suleiman Barau, was so enchanted by her work that he bought many of her pieces for his collection.
She became famous internationally for her experimental and innovative works merging the Gwari style she was proficient at with the modern techniques, creating glazed dishes, bowls and beakers, with stylised animal sgraffito. These are the works for which she is best known and they were a great asset to the growth in the popularity of Abuja pottery outside Africa.
She also continued to produce pots using her traditional hand-building and decorating techniques. Most of these were glazed and fired in a high-temperature kiln, and representing an intriguing hybrid of traditional African and Western studio pottery styles.
In 1954, Kwali ‘s pots were featured in the International exhibition of Abuja pottery organized by Michael Cardew.
In 1963, she was awarded Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), an honorary doctorate degree from ABU Zaria in 1977. Three years after in 1980, she received National Merit Award (NNOM), the highest national honor for academic achievement and in 1981, she was decorated with Order of the Niger (OON)
For more reading; https://zodml.org/discover-nigeria/people/ladi-dosei-kwali, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ladi_Kwali